Like many web designer/developer guys, I had an old personal site I hadn’t touched in years.
The site was an old html site with a WordPress blog in a subdirectory. I put it off as long as I could (it’s my own site from my touring musician days). It had a lot of pages on the html side, an odd directory structure (the pages were all in a “pages” subdirectory), and a lot of posts, many of which I’m no longer wanting to publish.
The Google index had a lot of inactive urls, mostly food posts I’d split off to another site – so I had to plan on cleaning up the index as well, and do a bunch of redirects once the site went live.
After recreating the site on my own machine in MAMP Pro, I was thinking about a way to do this, a good procedure to get everything into a new WordPress site.
Well, that was it – that was the strategy. Create a new site and import the content from each “side” of the old site. The html pages would become WordPress pages (with some deletions and additions) and then I’d use the WP Export/Import XML tools to bring in the WordPress side.
Having found the plugin HTML Import 2, I was excited to bring the html pages in. It imports from a site copy on your hard drive – having a local copy is an essential starting point for that method. Even after trying a few variables in the plugin, I was unable to find a way to import without bringing in the old html for the menus – so I had to edit every page to get the menus out of there. I tried using a Find/Change plugin to get rid of the menus, but they were all different for each page, so every page (28) had to be edited anyway after import.
At least I had a page list in the admin to work with – but in retrospect, copying from the browser and pasting into the WP editor would have been just as quick.
The WordPress side went really smoothly – I exported XML from the old site, and imported it into the new one.
After looking at the content for some time, it became apparent that I needed front category portals leading to “archive” pages leading to more sub-pages. I used Genesis Widgetized Archive (one of many options to create a widgetized page, but this one hasn’t been updated for awhile) for these category landing pages along with Genesis Featured Content Advanced, and showed featured images and excerpts in on the landing pages for the main categories.
One of the new categories needed to consist of a loop display of the content in that category on the old blog, which I did with the Content Views plugin.
The redirects were the biggest issue. Before taking the old site offline, I exported the urls with the List URLs plugin and saved it. After taking the new site live I did the same thing.
Meanwhile, there were a bunch of changes to do. Many old pages were deleted in the new site, thus had to be listed in a file for later use in removal via Search Console.
Those removed page urls needed to be trimmed from the redirect from list, then the 2 lists matched up in a spreadsheet for bulk import into the Simple 301 Redirects plugin via the Simple 301 Redirects Bulk Uploader Add-on. Between the powerful sorting and duplicates processing in BBEdit, and Keyboard Maestro’s script editor, all that took just a few hours.
I’ve got a Keyboard Maestro script for removing urls via Google Search Console, from a list in BBEdit. it goes really fast.
And there you have it – a nice, new 100% WordPress site, with all necessary redirects in place.